The following Q&A is part of a series on creating a sustainable work-from-home contact center. Each post examines a vital technology that supports contact centers in the transition to a permanent remote-work model. Below, Five9’s Mike Bourke discusses how workforce optimization solutions give agents more influence over their schedules, while providing managers with tools for coaching, real-time supervision and employee engagement. He highlights the work-from-home (WFH) challenges that WFO solves, along with key features of the solution, how to get the most out of the technology, and valuable advice on making a successful transition to a permanent WFH model.
Senior Vice President, Product, Five9
Five9 Workforce Optimization (WFO)
Q. What WFH challenge(s) does WFO solve?
Supporting remote and hybrid workforces now requires organizations to go beyond WFM to embrace Workforce Optimization (WFO). WFO streamlines remote and hybrid contact center operations by integrating tools for workforce management, quality management, interaction analytics, performance management and gamification.
Remote agents are juggling their work and home lives like never before, managing new distractions and schedule adjustments as customers reach out more frequently across more channels. WFO solutions increase the collaboration between agents and management, empowering the agents to have more influence over their schedules. These tools help agents better manage the new demands of working from home during a pandemic while still also ensuring the needs of the business and customers are met.
WFO also helps managers coach and motivate agents wherever they work, thanks to key features like live monitoring for the whole team, coaching, agent assist capabilities and gamification.
Q. How does it add value for end customers?
According to research from Metrigy, companies using WFO saw a 36.5% improvement in customer ratings. It all comes back to making sure customers get their questions answered and challenges addressed—and it’s all about making that easy.
Start with leveraging bots and AI to speed up and automate the interaction when possible, and when the customer needs to talk to a live person, businesses need to be able to respond or pick up the phone quickly. A representative of the company that is enabled and motivated to do what is right for the customer is going to provide a better customer experience.
Q. Tips for getting the most out of this tool?
WFO solutions that are integrated within a cloud contact center platform will drive the best customer and agent experience, as well as the best business outcomes. Fully integrating WFO capabilities into agent and supervisor desktop applications supports easy access and, therefore, increased adoption. Plus, integrated solutions can help enterprises save on licensing, training, system maintenance and ongoing support.
Q. Advice for making a successful transition to a permanent WFH model?
The key to good customer service is agents who feel empowered and energized. The past year has proven that good customer service doesn’t have to be routed to the traditional co-located contact center. A more flexible and agile approach can do much to empower agents while resulting in greater convenience and satisfaction for themselves and for customers alike.
The cloud provides this all-important, flexible foundation on which contact center leaders can quickly and easily deploy new technologies, including WFO applications. Key to enabling the level of digital transformation we’ve seen in the past year, the cloud also empowers agents with intuitive, easy-to-learn and -use tools that put the technology in the background and let the agent focus on the customer.
Next up in the WFH tech series: Video interviewing